According to Armenian deputy foreign minister Vardan Ozganian, last week’s round of talks on settling the Karabakh conflict was the most unsuccessful in the history of the talks and marked a backward step in the peace process. Azerbaijan demanded the return of Lachin corridor as a prerequisite to discussing a new political status for Karabakh, whereas Armenia and Karabakh insisted that Lachin "should remain under Karabakh control until such time as Karabakh’s status is determined." Russian and OSCE mediators offered several options which would in one way or another leave Lachin under Karabakh control as a demilitarized zone, to be inspected by international observers rather than peacekeeping troops. (18)
The tripartite, Azerbaijan-Armenia-Karabakh talks are scheduled to resume this week in Bonn. The round will test Baku’s willingness to help break the deadlock, in the knowledge that its demand regarding Lachin condemns the negotiations to fail from the start. The international mediators accept the principle that free overland communication between Karabakh and Armenia across Lachin represents an indispensable security guarantee for Karabakh’s population. With Azerbaijan’s elections out of the way, Baku can now afford to be more accommodating.
Turkmenistan’s Balancing Act.